Highlights of Japan small group tour
Description of Highlights of Japan small group tour
As anyone who’s travelled in Japan knows, things usually run pretty efficiently there – especially when it comes to public transport. This culturally rich small group tour of Japan is no exception, wasting no time as it zips you along from Tokyo to Osaka over nine adventure-filled days, via the highlights of Nikko, Kyoto and Hiroshima.
Beginning in the effervescent capital, Tokyo, you’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city, during which you’ll take in iconic landmarks such as the Meiji Shrine and the Senso-Ji Temple. You’ll visit famous neighbourhoods including ultra-fashionable Shinjuku and the Asakusa, the city’s oldest Geisha district. But you’ll also have plenty of free time to wander around and do your own thing, perhaps taking part in the famous Shibuya Crossing, or snacking at a sushi stall.
Take the train (a lovely way to meet friendly local people) to Nikko, a popular walking destination famed for its tall cedar trees. Here you’ll visit the Toshogu Shrine, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the vermillion Shinkyo Bridge, one of the most photographed places in Japan.
A mix of bullet trains (shinkansen) and local trains (not forgetting to pick up your bento box lunches on the platform) brings you to the historic capital, Kyoto, where the sights include Fushimi Inari – thousands of torii gates lead you through the forests of Mount Inari. Kyoto is definitely somewhere to ensure your camera is fully charged. You’ll also tour the bustling Nishiki food market, and Gion, the Geisha district with its beautiful teahouses around Hanami-koji.
On day seven, via the beautiful Himeji Castle which resembles a white egret in flight, you’ll reach Hiroshima. Here you’ll visit the Peace Park and the Peace Memorial Museum. Both are sombre, moving but ultimately uplifting memorials to the nuclear strike of 6 August 1945.
Your tour comes to an end in Osaka, which is one of the top foodie destinations in Japan, and known especially for its pancakes. But not before a short ferry journey from Hiroshima over to the wooded island of Miyajima to see its ‘floating torii’.
This Japan small group tour packs a huge amount into just nine days, yet it never feels rushed. Designed for travellers in their 30s and 40s wanting a short but culturally immersive trip, it affords numerous opportunities to bond with your fellow travellers. But also to meet Japanese people and learn about their lifestyles, whether that’s by using public transport, ducking into small restaurants, or staying in characterful accommodation a world apart from big chain hotels.
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PlanetActivity & Environment:
As we are a firm believer in travelling responsibly, during this trip we travel to different destinations across Japan using public transport, so our visit minimises negative impacts. Information is also provided to educate guests how to separate waste and recycle in Japan. This trip offers many opportunities for our clients to go shopping and purchase souvenirs, therefore reusable shopping bags are also encouraged to be used. When visiting Miyajjma there will be opportunities to spot animals such as deer. These animals are in the wild and are free to move around without restrictions. therefore our trip leaders encourage clients to stick to advised routes in order to minimise this. We also operate a ‘leave no trace’ policy, whereby we ensure no rubbish including plastic has been left behind in the places we visit.
Water is an important issue and whilst travelling we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing avoidable waste with plastic bottles. Wherever possible we provide safe alternative sources of water to buying single use plastic bottles. Our guests are encouraged to bring reusable water bottles which can be refilled throughout the duration of this trip, this reduces the reliance on plastic bottles and lessens unnecessary waste.
It all starts at home where we work towards reducing our carbon footprint in our offices through energy conservation measures, recycling policies and the promotion of cycling and walking as a means for our staff to commute. Our head office has become a plastic-free zone with the use of plastic bottles being banned in our head office and we distributed reusable water bottles and tote bags to every staff member. We also support a large number of community and environmental projects in different parts of the world and try to give something back to the places we visit.
PeopleAccommodation and Meals:
On this trip we spend one night in a traditional Japanese guesthouse in Nikko and the remaining nights in comfortable, locally or Japanese owned hotels. The accommodation on this trip is run locally, employing residents from the community. We try to avoid international hotels where possible to show our support to Japanese businesses. Each hotel is trying to contribute and make changes to be more sustainable - by choosing not to replace bedding and towels every day, and only providing additional amenities upon request. During this trip, locally sourced ingredients will also be used where meals are provided, otherwise our local guides are able to advise clients to dine at other community cafes and restaurants to try out local specialities.
Local crafts and culture:
This trip offers many opportunities for clients to immerse themselves with the Japanese culture, by visiting an array of authentic sites including Tokyo’s most famous shrine and Asakusa’s oldest Buddhist temple. Our visit also stops off at Nishiki Market in Kyoto, where clients are encouraged to explore the mile-long food markets and purchase local produce. Handmade souvenirs including wooden and bamboo chop sticks can also be found, supporting the work and trade of local residents.